A few weeks ago, con chairman Samuel Conway wrote a Twitter thread about how a customer was stiffed by a seller in the Dealer's Den at Anthrocon.
OK, I just deleted a long thread where I detailed how an unscrupulous fursuit maker made Anthrocon look bad in the eyes of our friends in Pittsburgh. I intended to demonstrate that the whole "well, that's just how furries do business" affects ALL of us, not just one or two.
— Uncle Kage (@Unclekage) June 18, 2021
Bad business practices have been an ongoing issue in furry fandom. Taking the money and running is not only detrimental from a financial angle; it erodes trust in our fellow fans, and embitters the dreams of getting fursuits and art commissions. Since this frustrating problem has now reached a level where it's occurring within our Dealer's Dens, it also threatens to harm the reputations of the entrepreneurs who call those marketplaces home. If the fandom wants to secure the economic integrity of its spaces, new solutions will need to be developed to protect the honest exchange of goods and services.
Today we go over the harm that these situations cause, the extent and mitigation that furry fandom has committed already, and finally present a baseline of discussion for solutions to bring a sense of security back to the furry buyer.
A Whisker Away (trailer) is an anime film about a young Japanese teenager who gains the ability to turn into a cat. Released in the summer of 2020, it was written by Mari Okada, directed by Junichi Sato and Tomotaka Shibayama, and animated by Studio Colorido. Its original title is Nakitai Watashi wa Neko o Kaburu, which translates to "Wanting to cry, I pretend to be a cat".
The main protagonist is a girl in her early teens, nicknamed Muge. She's madly in love with Hinode, a boy in her class who doesn't appreciate her advances. One night, she encounters a mysterious anthropomorphic feline who offers to sell her a magical mask. With it, Muge can turn into a cat and spend time with Hinode, getting to know him better. As she switches back and forth, she begins to wonder if she'd prefer to be a cat, rather than a human - but doesn't know what it might cost her.
There’s a problem comparing Space Jam: A New Legacy to the original Space Jam. I could say the new movie lives up to old one; but the thing is, despite its popularity over the last quarter century, the verdict of whether or not it’s any good is still very much undecided.
That’s always been a bit of a mystery to me, however, because the original Space Jam is fine. It’s a movie for kids, and I was actually a bit old for it when it first came out, but I remember smaller kids than me absolutely loved it, so instant pass right there. Target audience likes it, you win. I rewatched it last year while binging a bunch of Looney Tunes stuff while in pandemic lockdown. I enjoyed it. Lots of the jokes held up. You’re a comedy. You make me laugh. There’s another instant pass. It’s fine. That’s my mini stealth review of the original Space Jam in my Space Jam: A New Legacy review. So you got two Space Jam reviews for the price of one. You’re welcome.
The movie Space Jam: A New Legacy is about LeBron James (charmingly credited as “Himself”) playing basketball with a bunch of Looney Tunes. It is a mixture of live action, CGI animation and hand drawn animation, directed by Malcolm D. Lee. It is playing in theaters now, or is available to stream until August 15 on HBO Max for those with a subscription to that service. It is also fine.
This is the part of the review where I should say which Space Jam is better, but actually if you get the HBO Max subscription, they also have the original to stream, plus a decent collection of the original shorts, some of the more modern iterations of the property, including the The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, The Looney Tunes Show, New Looney Tunes (a.k.a. Wabbit!), the HBO Max original Looney Tunes Cartoons and even something called Baby Looney Tunes: Musical Adventures – which I don't think shares a common target audience with Flayrah, but if that's your jam, you do you. So I'd recommend doing that.
Not since the 1980s have anthropomorphic animals and the Olympics come together more than in the news out of Australia in the past few weeks. As the Summer Olympics get ready to begin after a year's delay due to the global pandemic, one artist has brought some furry thunder for the teams Down Under.
In the far-off time of 2003, Wizards of the Coast published an expansion to the rules of its popular Advanced Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game known as Savage Species. It’s purpose was to allow players to choose one of the many monsters the game featured as a playable race and still allow them to play with players sticking with one of the Player’s Handbook pre-approved playable races, who were either human or basically humans, just with pointy ears or a shorter build than normal.
The appeal to furries is obvious. The Monster Manual contained various anthropomorphic animal races, including minotaurs, gnolls, kobolds and many others that furries would almost rather certainly play than just vanilla humans and the human adjacent. In addition, tucked into the third appendix of Savage Species was added a new “creature template”, which could be added to existing creatures, specifically animals. That template was known as “anthropomorphic animal.”
Unfortunately, this was the far off time of 2003, and the reputation of the furry fandom among other geek cultures was not good. Wizards of the Coast didn’t mind if furries wanted to buy their expensive add-on books, but they also wanted to make sure to signal to all the other non-furry geeks this wasn’t a furry book and also they didn’t really like furries either. They did this with the selection of the example animal that the template was applied to: a donkey, which we’ve covered the symbolism of elsewhere.
Released on PC 2019, Later Alligator is part visual novel, part mini-game puzzler game with fantastic art direction and characterization. You play as a hired hand trying to help Pat the alligator discover who is trying to off them. You explore this reptilian version of New York City to interview as many of Pat’s relatives as you can. Each unlocks a minigame that you will need to defeat before they will give you clues to what plot is afoot.
Mechanically the game requires multiple playthroughs to find everyone and do everything, and it knows this. In a way it has a repetitive three act structure like Majora’s Mask, where you have to make notes on who you spoke to and who you missed out on. However the gameplay is more like The Neverhood where the animated world you explore is broken up by quick puzzles and minigames.
If you like puzzles and talking with alligators of a very memorable persuasion, then this is the game for you. This title fell under the radar for most furries and even myself, as I think it holds its own against all the games that were nominated for the Ursa Majors in 2019. Of the three titles I played on the list: Untitled Goose Game, Winds of Change, and Blacksad - I think this one was better as it held its charm from start to finish. It was not too short, nor too long.
On the plus side, the Switch version was released this year; we could nominate that for 2021.
Below the fold I’ll discuss the writing, which will go into spoiler territory. If you want to discover the twists for yourself, please do not read further.
Before the movie Space Jam: A New Legacy even came out, the sheer amount of cameos, Easter eggs and crossovers promised by the movie was raising eyebrows. Most critics were not impressed. With the movie in general, but also with the commercialism of the movie, as made clear by Rotten Tomatoes critic consensus (where the movie has a paltry 31% as of this writing):
Despite LeBron James' best efforts to make a winning team out of the Tune Squad, Space Jam: A New Legacy trades the zany, meta humor of its predecessor for a shameless, tired exercise in IP-driven branding.
The Internet, always on the lookout for new and exciting clickbait, has plenty of lists breaking down each and every cameo in the movie (oftentimes complete with a link to a review decrying the annoying amount of IP branding at the end; here's ours!), and if you're more inclined to skip to the end, there is plenty of discussion about what the worst cameo is. But what's the best shout out in Space Jam: A New Legacy? For your consideration, how about the one to Wolfwalkers?